‘I felt for him’ – Pundit thinks Tottenham star was unfairly treated this week

Jamie O’Hara has criticised Gareth Southgate for playing James Maddison out of position against Ukraine and then taking the Tottenham man off midway into the second half.

It was certainly not surprising to see Maddison named in the starting eleven in the Euro Qualifiers at the Wrocław Stadium in Poland on Saturday, given the impressive start that the 26-year-old has made to the season.

Southgate decided to pack the midfield, with Jordon Henderson, Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham playing behind Maddison while Harry Kane also dropped into the middle of the park frequently to pick up the ball.

James Maddison of England runs with the ball during the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying round group C match between Malta and England
VALLETTA, MALTA – JUNE 16: James Maddison of England in action during the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying round group C match between Malta and England at Ta’ Qali Stadium on June 16, 2023 in Valletta, Malta. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

That meant that the Spurs midfielder did not really get too much space to operate in and did not see much of the ball, with the Ukrainians defending in a low block.

The former Leicester City man was replaced by Manchester City’s Phil Foden in 65 minutes as the Three Lions went in search of an elusive winner but the change did not have the desired effect.

O’Hara thinks Maddison should have been number 10

O’Hara was far from happy with the way Southgate used Maddison, with the pundit telling talkSPORT about the England boss: “He takes Maddison off, who’s been flying for Tottenham, plays him on the left wing, when, when he signed for Tottenham, he’s been playing as a number 10.

“He’s a number 10. I felt for him, because all I saw was Maddison coming inside, and Bellingham and Maddison making the same runs trying to get the ball.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Maddison certainly did not play on the left wing against Ukraine. He was given a free role and allowed to drift wide if there was space on the flank. However, the formation did not seem to work as the likes of Bellingham, Kane and Maddison were often taking up similar positions.

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